Budapest Celtic I 6 Zold Borzak 2

Budapest Celtic secured a place in the Duncan Shields Vándorkupa Semi-Finals after they eventually dispatched a determined and dogged Zöld Borzak side at Vasas on Saturday. The margin of victory may have slightly flattered Celtic but it also serves as a warning to the Hoops’ title rivals. Even when not at their best the Green and Whites still have enough ammunition and firepower to see off whatever A or B Liga can throw at them. The Hoops’ player-coach Matthew Watson-Broughton kept the same side that had comprehensively defeated Ratio Homini a week earlier but welcomed back Neil Evans, Misi Greiling, Seb Schneider and Szilard Kardhordo to the squad after their recent unavailability. Celtic were to make an explosive start to the match when Jasper Zebner shot to the top of the Hoops’ season scoring charts with seven minutes on the clock. Chris Dobson dropped deep to collect a Mark Ryan pass, before the former’s majestic centre was met by a marvellous Zebner bullet header that powered past Borzak goalkeeper György Budai. Rather than settle Celtic down the goal seemed to send the Green and Whites into an uncomfortable sleep. The simplest task seemed beyond them and this spread throughout the entire team for most of the opening period. It was then no surprise when Zöld Borzak drew level through Edouard Dugas’s angled drive from the edge of the box. The Celtic front two of Zebner and Dobson were clearly the side’s most productive force in the first half and it was to be the veteran English striker who would restore the Hoops lead with a superb 20-metre shot that found the bottom corner of the net. Dobson and Zebner then missed glorious opportunities to grab Celtic’s third from almost identical positions two yards from goal. However, they more than made up for these mishaps when they combined again on the stroke of half time. Dobson brilliantly held the ball up before releasing Sam Houlison down the right and another special cross from the Geordie youngster was expertly smashed home by Zebner for his second of the afternoon. Despite performing nowhere near the standards they had set throughout the season Celtic had a seemingly comfortable lead at half time, although it would take another Zöld Borzak goal before the Hoops fully awoke from their slumber. A Dennis Hamaker cross was only half cleared by the Celtic defence and Daniel Hall curled a beautiful effort beyond Celtic custodian János Barits eighteen metres from goal. This was the final warning the Green and Whites needed and they would no longer stand back and allow their league and cup double dreams to be jeopardized. Two scintillating crosses from Seb Schneider seemed to revitalize Celtic’s challenge. Schneider’s first centre fizzed across the six-yard box begging to be touched home but there were no takers. The German full-back’s next superb cross would have been dispatched into the net by Zebner but Budai denied Celtic a fourth goal. There was only to be a slight delay. The returning Evans ran into the box after a truly tremendous Zebner pass afforded the Hoops club captain the time and space he needed to confidently pick his spot. It’s sometimes easy to forget the goalscoring contribution that Evans makes from midfield. This strike was a startling fifth in six games, a remarkable record by anyone’s standards. Kardhordó had been a constant menace since being unleashed from the Celtic bench and he set off on one of his trademark runs in search of Celtic’s fifth goal only to see Budai tip his searing shot over the bar. From an almost identical Kardhordo burst, Dobson bundled the ball over Budai’s line to put the game beyond Borzak’s reach. Having gone close several times Zebner had to wait until the final thirty seconds of the game before sealing his sensational hat-trick. Turkish Terror Ahmet’s spellbinding surge took him past three players before his delightful through ball was side-footed into the net by Zebner for Celtic’s final goal of the afternoon. Zebner more than deserved his moment of glory after a fantastic campaign.

Budapest Celtic II 3 Zold Borzak 3

Budapest Celtic III 3 BIS Old Boys 4
It was a beautiful day for football; a little chilly weather to motivate everyone to work extra hard and keep warm. The time was also ideal for us youngsters as no one was hungover or anything along those lines. The game started of very weak for Celtic III. BIS managed to pass around the ball and almost let none of our Celtic players get hold of it. They managed to be dangerous in the box several times within the first 15 minutes of the match. When we did get the ball not much was done with it. Perhaps players where a little shocked when they actually got the ball and didn't know what to do with it and kept the ball at their own feet. One or two players had actually begun in somewhat below-par fashion; perhaps they could not handle the fact that the pitch we were playing on had no holes in it and bounces were extremely smooth. Shouting from goal, our Coach and goalkeeper Bodwin made a brilliant stop from a ball that was intended for the left top corner keeping the score still at even 0-0. It wasn't until later on in the first half that our trusted Celtic players started to get the feel for it. After making the appropriate subs we tried a completely different formation. Our usual Turkish left-back Mete played a solid part in the Defensive Midfield having our German Max play left-back. Hadi and Zoli both did everything they could to keep the central defence tight and nearly flawless. Ubi on the right side played a strong game with the exception of the occasional mess-up like making a suspected 'hand-ball' and stopping running while the referee didn't blow his whistle, an event th nearly resulted in a goal. On the midfield wings we had Kivanc and Hani who were giving all they got to move up with the attack and coming back for some defense. Closer to the end of the first half our trusted South-Korean Tunzo added another goal to his career by putting Celtic ahead 1-0 10 minutes before the end of the first half.

The second half was a lot more entertaining, especially if you look at it goalwise. Celtic started off playing like they were just promoted into the A Liga. The ball was doing most of the work and players ran towards it for once and collected the ball and used the easier option as is emphasised at practice nearly every week. This is again what eventually led to Celtic going 2-0 up when Tunzo received a beautiful throw-in by our Russian attacking midfielder Ivan and buried it in the left top corner. This must have also been the turning point in the game for the rest of the team because perhaps everyone thought it was already won. BIS capitalised by scoring two goals within just 10 minutes to bring the game back to 2-2. This was undoubtedly caused by a temporary but almost complete lack of communication by those on the pitch. 20 more minutes of strong football was played when eventually the veteran of the team, Daniel Dan, struck one of the goals of the season. He was brought down by a small tug on the jersey in the area but while falling down still managed to get his foot to the ball, cracking it in off the underside of the crossbar for a fantastic 3 - 2 lead. Again Celtic thought it was done as the celebration lasted a good minute or so much too long in a close game like that. As the half went on BIS kept fighting for a equaliser that they eventually got due to poor communication in the defence. A 3 - 3 draw, at this point, would have been a score everyone would have been satisfied with, but it wasn't over yet. Five minutes before the end of the game (again due to a major lack in communication) BIS opened up the wing to their right forward perfectly and our left-back had difficulty catching up to him. With no one talking to each other goalkeeper Bodwin decided to come out and try to get it but halfway out realised that the ball was too far away. This resulted in the BIS striker chipping the keeper and with no defender able to clear the goalie's line, the score became 4-3 to BIS. A matter of minutes after that goal the whistle blew for full-time.

Super Celtic lift FIFA World Cup and finish runners-up in Milan Tournament

Budapest Celtic came agonisingly close to claiming their fourth trophy of a spectacular 2009 at an invitational tournament in Pavia just outside Milan last week but after two excellent displays from the green and whites it was the host team Vigevano, partly made up of ex-professionals, that won the inaugural tournament trophy in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout. Before the tournament, held on the main pitch at Vigevano's Serie D (!) stadium, the Celtic players took turns to allow the FIFA World Cup trophy to have its photograph taken with each of them; surely the only time the lucky trophy will ever have such a unique opportunity... Spurred on by this Celtic started their first match in dominant fashion and wasted little time in creating what was arguably the goal of the tournament overall, speedy Irish winger Nigel Killeen tricking his way past the Pavia right-back and laying the ball back for Neil Evans who dummied the ball, thus creating the chance for striker Paul Bartlett to thunder the ball expertly past a helpless goalkeeper from just inside the penalty area. The Green and Whites soon extended their lead and again it was Bartlett who finished with aplomb, this time collecting a long ball in the right channel and advancing to the edge of the area where he shot across the keeper and low into the far left corner. Celtic - A Liga champions and Duncan Shields Vandor Kupa and Colin Currie Cup winners in 2008/09 - could have extended their lead had it not been for a miraculous save by the Pavia keeper from a close-range Evans volley with a quarter of the game remaining. At this point a two-goal victory looked on the cards but in the final minute the referee chose to ignore his linesman's raised flag and instead a left-wing cross was headed into the bottom right corner by an unmarked and suspiciously offside Pavia striker to make the final score 2-1. On to the final match of the three-team tournament then and with the third team, hosts Vigevano Select XI, having also beaten Pavia 2-1, it had become a winner-takes-all scenario. Celtic were immense in this game against opposition which included 37 year-old former Inter Milan and Fiorentina defender Pasquale Padalino and a former Italian Under 21 European Championship winner amongst other ex-pros and the team from Budapest took the lead through the impressive finishing of Bartlett who latched on to a through ball and fired high past the keeper into the net. At this point it was very much an even match but Celtic weresoon to be on the wrong end of two highly debatable refereeing decisions, the first of which involved cultured central defender Heike Bult who was unluckily adjudged to have fouled one of the Vigevano players in the area, the penalty duly being awarded and despatched. As the game wore on Celtic's players, who had made the trek to Italy from Hungary that same day, began to feel the effects of a long day travelling and with Vigevano able to rely on a host of fresh replacements the hosts began to dominate possession. However, it is to the whole Celtic team's credit that Jonathan Laycock in goal only had one save of note to make, an excellent low block from a striker who had managed to break free of the defence. Special mention should be made to makeshift right-back Adam Balogh whose last-ditch tackle prevented Laycock from being called into action on one other occasion. Celtic's attacking instinct had not been curbed, however, and it was club legend and féted tour organiser Niels Boving who took the chance to remind us all of his excellent technique and predatory instincts with just ten minutes of the allotted 30 to go when he forced his way through the Vigevano rearguard and managed to squeeze his shot past the goalkeeper and inside the far post from 14 metres. With Celtic's defence stoic and almost inpenetrable it was going to take something special to level the scores and once again it was the referee who came up with it (I'm not bitter...;)), in his wisdom deciding that a cross which deflected from Evans' thigh to his hand in a split second was somehow worthy of a second spot-kick award. Despite a valiant attempt from Laycock the penalty squeezed inside his right post meaning despite their courageous efforts Celtic had been pegged back and taken to a shootout. In situations like this the heroes are always those who have the courage to stand up and be counted, so much respect goes to Neil, Heike, Paul, Roland and Niels who volunteered to take a pen when the squad was asked. Neil and Heike slotted in and Jon saved Vigevano's second spotkick to put us 2-1 up but by this time fatigue had well and truly set in and unfortunately efforts from tournament topscorer Paul, Roland and Niels didn't hit the back of the net this time while Vigevano converted their 3rd and 4th spotkicks to win the tournament. The Celtic boys were well and truly exhausted at the end so they deserve a huge amount of praise for their performances on the pitch, as do injured duo Rob Longworth and Feri Winhardt for their support off it. The runners-up spot in this enjoyable and well-organised competition was the least they deserved and provides a timely boost, both for the popularity of a likely Celtic tour again late next summer and for the upcoming new 'Football Budapest' league season.

Tournament details: 1st match v Pavia (won 2-1): GK: Jonathan Laycock RB: Roland Sváb CB: Paul Couling CB: Heike Bult LB: Gearoid O' Sullivan (sub: Matt Watson-Broughton 15') RM: Szilard Kardhordo CM: Neil Evans CM: Ádám Balogh LM: Nigel Killeen CF: Paul Bartlett (goals: 6', 11') CF: Neils Boving Unused sub: Nosa Igbinosun Backroom staff: Rob Longworth Ferenc Winhardt 2nd match v Vigevano Select XI (drew 2-2, lost 3-2 on pens): GK: Jonathan Laycock (saved 2nd pen in shootout - mid-height diving to his left) RB: Nosa Igbinosun (sub: Roland Sváb (missed 4th pen in shootout - high over crossbar) CB: Paul Couling CB: Heike Bult (scored 2nd pen in shootout - to keeper's left) LB: Gearoid O' Sullivan (sub: Matt Watson-Broughton 15')
RM: Szilard Kardhordo CM: Neil Evans (scored 1st pen in shootout - low to keeper's right) CM: Ádám Balogh (went to right-back when Roland came on in to central midfield) LM: Nigel Killeen CF: Paul Bartlett (goal: 10') (missed 3rd pen in shootout - central over crossbar) CF: Neils Boving (goal: 23') (5th pen in shootout saved down the middle) Backroom staff: Rob Longworth Ferenc WinhardtPACE IS THE TRICK
Speed demon Saleh leaves Manager United in his wake
Budapest Celtic 6 Manager United 0


Celtic celebrated their first win of the season after an exhilirating 6-0 victory over Manager United. It was arguably Celtic's most cohesive team performance since they dismantled Vikings in the Semi-Final of the Duncan Shields Vandorkupa. Ironically the Hoops face the Vikings on Sunday at Csepel in what is already shaping up to be a crucial encounter. The green and whites gave starts to new signings Mark Ryan and Leo Kronberger. With Paul Couling missing out through injury Misi Greiling returned to the centre of defence. Club captain Neil Evans was declared fit enough to start the match and Abullah Saleh Alghanmi and Jasper Zebner spearheaded the Hoops attack. There was also a welcome return for Stanislav Ryzhov and Laurence Coen who has just recovered from a long-term calf problem. Stand-in player-coach Evans emphasised the importance of taking the game to Manager in the early stages and the Hoops did not disappoint. Celtic have found a new hero in their Saudi Arabian striker Saleh. His explosive pace and magnetic ball control found Manager wanting and it was no surprise when he sped away from his marker to turn home a tantalising cross from Kronberger to open the scoring. Celtic were almost two up seconds later when they were awarded a free kick in dangerous territory. Evans’ explosive curling effort cracked against the crossbar and rebounded to safety. However, Manager's fragile defence was to collapse again moments later after a delightful passing move from the Hoops. Greiling fired the ball onto Zebner's chest, the German forward twisted away and then slipped a precise pass through to his strike partner Saleh. The Saudi Arabian swept in a inviting low ball that was finished brillantly by Zebner who had run a good twenty yards to get into the box. Celtic went close to adding to their lead before the break. Szilard Kardhordo's dazzling run down the right-hand side had his marker tied up in knots and although the winger’s through ball was smashed goalwards by Evans György Fehérvari in the Manager goal stood tall to save. Moments after the interval Fehérvari denied Evans again, the English maestro latching onto Joe McCann's cutback but this time his blistering drive was blocked. Celtic didn't have to wait long for their third goal. Kardhordo stabbed a terrific pass to the edge of the area and Abdul evaded two challenges before a exquisite dummy baffelled the goalkeeper and allowed the Saudi forward to tap into an empty net. Subistute Chris Dobson then produced a contender for goal of the season. Collecting possession just inside the opposition’s half, Dobson surged and swayed his way past five defenders before lashing a unstoppable angled drive past the despairing Fehérvari. Although the forwards stole the show, the Celtic defence celebrated their first competitive clean sheet since last November. The entire Hoops back line was superb throughout the ninety minutes and they never really looked like conceding at any point. By this stage Celtic were rampant and Zebner added his second goal after being played through by Kardhordo. Abdul then completed the first hat-trick by a Celtic player in over a year in fine style after his crashing diving header finished off a tremendous move that involved a terrific Dobson slide-rule pass and a pin-point cross from Kronberger. Midfield dynamo Johnny Bennett had worked tirelessly in midfield and he went close to adding Celtic's seventh but shot just wide. It was a splendid team effort from Celtic and every player in the hoops made a meaningful contribution to a richly-deserved victory.The green and whites can look forward to the return of their double-winning coach Matthew Watson-Broughton next Sunday just in time for a match that promises to be crackling with intensity.

Team: Barits, McCann, Harsanyi, Greiling, Ryan, Kardhordo, Bennett, Evans, Kronberger, Saleh, Zebner,

Subs: Coen, Ryjov, Dobson, Schneider.

Goals: Abdul (3), Zebner (2), Dobson.

Writer's man of the match: Abdul.


A week on from suffering a humiliating four nil reverse at the hands of their Norwegian adversaries, you could have perhaps forgiven the Celtic players for feeling a little brittle as they entered this game. After all they had only ever beaten their illustrious opponents once in the clubs thirteen year history. In that sequence The Vikings have inflicted utter misery upon misery on the green and whites. The hoops survivors who took part in the December day massacre (last season’s 6-0 cup defeat to the blues) can finally put their nightmares behind them.

Having endured many a fraught afternoon at the disposal of the blues it was now Celtic’s turn to terrorize their opponents and watch them fall into panic stricken mode. Epic individual battles sprung up all over the pitch from the moment the referee blew his whistle and both sets of players and the hoops glorious supporters rarely had a moment to draw breath for ninety spellbound minutes.

Budapest Celtic are now on the cusp on achieving a historic double, if they win the cup on Saturday it will be the first time any side in A Liga has managed to bring home both trophies. Celtic’s sister club The Kaledonian will not just be at Epitok to make up the numbers. Liam Carroll has worked miracles not only to guide his team in to the cup final but to also secure their A Liga status when it seemed certain that they were all but doomed to relegation. It promises to be a fantastic end to an enthralling season.

Inspirational player coach Matt Watson-Broughton made five changes to the side that lost to the blues a week earlier. American anchor man Bill Nussdorfer had returned to the states to resign for his home town club, he was replaced by the irresistible Fergal Strumble. Misi Greiling and Niels Luschen both missed out through injury allowing Philip Kokorsch and Gabor Harsanyi to take their place in the starting eleven. Vladislav Panov partnered Jasper Zebner up front with Paul Bartlett and Julian Helble having to make do with a place on the substitutes bench.

A stomach churning, nerve shredding opening to the match saw a tentative approach from both sides. Celtic survived an early scare when their Turkish goalkeeper Zafer Evren raced from his line and conceded a free kick just outside the box, however the referee awarded only a free kick. Evren was then called into action to turn away a wicked drive from Alexander Dybvik.

Virtually seconds later Jasper Zebner had a golden opportunity to open the scoring after getting on the end of Strumble’s sumptuous through ball but the German forward’s shot was blocked.

Panov almost broke the dead lock when he fired in a shot from just inside the area but a Vikings head turned the effort over the cross bar. From the resulting corner Celtic had a strong appeal for a penalty turned town after Neil Evans first time snap shot seemed to be blocked by an outstretched arm.

The hoops left winger Chris Dobson was then inches away after his long range volley scraped the post with the goalkeeper beaten. An Evans, Zebner and Panov combination almost produced the opening goal but the latter’s shot was just off target.

The outstanding Panov then ran the full length of the park after laying the ball off to Dobson before getting on the end of a Zebner center to volley wide. It was a swift and incisive break that more than deserved a goal.

Despite dominating for long spells Celtic had failed to turn their possession into goals and they were duly punished ten minutes before half time. Vidar Nedrebo thrust down the Celtic right and swung in a cross that Haakon struck beyond Zafer Evren.

The opener left Celtic reeling and The Vikings soon rode into a two goal lead with Nedrebo’s fantastic strike leaving Evren standing and the hoops back line speechless. Luckily for Celtic two men awaited them inside the home dressing room ready to rally their team to an impossible victory.

If any one in green in white had given up after Nedrebo had burst the net, by the time Coen and Watson-Broughton were finished with them they were left in no doubt that the match could still be turned in their favor. Coen went round every Celtic player to a man and assured them that The Vikings did not deserve their lead. Watson-Broughton was coolness personified as he urged his players to let fly at Einar Bekken in The Vikings goal.

Watson-Broughton and Laurence Coen’s breathtaking speeches at half time brought Celtic to the fore and they began to believe the truly unbelievable. Latching onto Evans precise forward header Panov tested Bekkens nerve with a crisp shot that the young goalkeeper fumbled into his six yard box, Zebner emerged in an instant stealing in to steer the ball home.

Celtic were now very much back in contention. Not even The Vikings restoring their two goal advantage could dissuade the hoops. They treated The Vikings third as a minor inconvenience. Haakon found himself afforded the freedom of Celtic’s penalty area as he arrived unmarked on the hoops left. His first time shot was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Evren however as the green and whites ball watched Dan Robin Wildsgaard slide in his second goal of the afternoon.

The Vikings were almost three goals ahead straight from the restart, Wildsgaard’s looping cross was close to catching out Evren at his far post.

Celtic then responded after some fine inter play between Ryzhov and Dobson found Evans just inside the penalty area and he expertly placed the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

It was fitting that Celtic’s equalizer should be scored by substitute Paul Bartlett, a player who has literally put his body on the line for the club this season. Seemingly stranded sixteen yards from goal on the wide left if Bartlett had taken a moment to explain his intentions to someone then surely they would have been laughed away as preposterous, his left footed thunderous smash slammed past Bekken leaving what was left of the goalkeeper broken in the net.

The Vikings were visibly shaken and stunned by Celtic’s unlikely comeback. Things were about to get a whole lot worse for the boys in blue. Again it was Evans who profited, aided and abetted by Panov who prised open The Vikings backline with a clever run and cut back that the English midfielder fabulously sent soaring into the roof of the net for yet another goal of the season contender.

The goal forced The Vikings to come out in search of an equalizer and Celtic gleefully exploited the space that this created and grabbed their fifth goal of the afternoon. Kokorsch ran the full length of the pitch past weary defenders before picking out Zebner. The German forward’s first shot was blocked, Szil Kardhordo retrieved the lose ball and found Zebner again and this time he made no mistake as he drilled an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.

After last weeks humiliation at the hands of arch rivals Vikings, Budapest Celtic had a settle to score with a great reward - a place in the Duncan Shiels Vandorkupa final against sister club Celtic Kaledonians. Here is Joe McCann's report on the titanic tussle.

Budapest Celtic 1st XI and Budapest Celtic 2nd XI served up an epic feast of football on a terrific afternoon last Sunday at Csepel stadium in a gala friendly. Meeting for the first time in their history the two sides shared five goals between them and many more memorable moments.

With Budapest Celtic 1st XI only days away from a potential title decider they were given a stiff test by their counterparts. Although the score line suggests otherwise this game was a lot closer than it looked. Celtic 1st’s dominated for long periods throughout the second half and they can take a lot of positives despite suffering their first ever defeat.

Celtic 1st XI underlined their attacking intent early on with Martin Abel in a particularly mischievous mood. Starting on the left hand side of midfield Abel created havoc from the first whistle and it was no surprise that he was at the heart of the opening goal of the match.

Abel plucked possession on the left hand side and his glorious swerving cross caught Celtic 2nd XI napping and allowed the returning Chris Dobson to prosper by depositing his close range shot past a helpless Gearoid O’Sullivan.

Celtic A quickly took control of the game and they could have been out of sight before being hit by a sucker punch.

The greens earned themselves an unlikely equalizer after Laurence Coen appeared to handle a center by Dean Bailey. The referee awarded a penalty and Paul Bartlett coolly struck the ball centrally into the net.

After having endeavored for more than 30 minutes to get themselves back into the game, a moment of misfortune saw Celtic 2nd string fall behind again. Dutch center half Martin Mensen’s attempted clearing header from a Neil Evans cross, rebounded off his own bar and once again Chris Dobson snuck in to get his second goal of the match..

Abel then saw his shot from just inside the area go meters past the post.

The greens were unlucky not to draw level again after clever play by Vladislav Panov released Bailey on the left hand side of the box, the Birmingham born winger was inches away from finding the far corner of Zafer Evren’s goal.

At the other end O’Sullivan was in truly spellbinding form. Firstly he denied an onrushing Dobson, before making three spectacular saves in quick succession from Stanislav Ryzhov, Dao and Neil Evans. However even the Irish keepers heroics could not keep the hoops at bay for much longer.

With half time approaching, the First XI increased their advantage. Niels Luschen burst into the penalty box before cutting the ball back for a grateful Dao to slam into the net. It was another indication of the frightening speed that the hoops have at their disposal. The goal happened in an instant before the reds had known what had hit them.

Celtic 1st XI were in such control by the interval that any comeback by the greens seemed unrealistic and implausible. English maestro Evans and his central midfield collaborator William Nussdorfer had completely dominated the middle of the park with alarming ease.
But a calm half time team talk by Celtic 2nd’s coach Graham Hardy and the introduction of the teenage Bulgarian sensation Ivan Stankov almost helped to turn the game around.

The 2nd half began with a highly contentious offside flag ruling out a seemingly good goal by the German forward Abel. Turkish substitute Haluk Diriker slid a superb ball into Abel’s path and he in turn found the back of the net. However the goal was ruled out and the greens were given a timely reprieve.

The hoops goal scoring hero from the win over Atletico Match, Jasper Zebner then met a teasing Dobson cross but the German’s header was off target.

Stankov set about his task of dismantling the hoops defence from that moment on. He devastated his markers on a couple of occasions and only two smart saves from Evren prevented the young striker from bringing the greens back into the game.

The second string looked a lot more assured and settled in the second part thanks in no small part to Fergal Strumble, Seb Schneider and Joe McCann who all helped to temper the surging threat of the hoops wingers Ryzhov and Luschen and roaming forward Abel. They were also livelier in attack with Bartlett making a constant nuisance of himself and enjoying an excellent and fascinating duel with Celtic First’s center back Coen.

As the game progressed Istvan Tomascek produced a blistering drive from 30 yards that deserved to nestle in the back of the net instead of flying just over the bar.

Moments later Bailey met an outstanding Panov center with a glancing header that was somehow scooped up off the bar and away for a corner by Helble. In truth the reds had done enough to feel that their terrific build up play throughout the 2nd half should have warranted a goal and they were unfortunate not to have cut the deficit.

With the hoops under unrelenting pressure, Abel stepped up to produce a stunning individual goal that settled matters. Picking the ball up from Ryzhov 35 yards from goal he held off the challenge of Rob Longworth, strode into the box and fired a stunning shot into the top corner.

It was the last meaningful action of a classic match.

Match Summary Budapest Celtic A: Evren, Helble, Harsanyi, Coen, Ryzhov, Luschen, Nussdorfer, Evans, Abel, Dobson, Dao, Zebner, Diriker, Janos. Budapest Celtic B: O’Sullivan, Binder, Longworth, Mensen, Schneider, Tomacsek, Bennett, Gaspar, Bailey, Bartlett, Panov, Stankov, Janosi, Strumble, McCann. Goals:1XI: Dobson (10, 33), Dao (44), Abel (84) 2XI: Bartlett (30 pk).

Man Of the Match: Gearoid O' Sullivan

Celt’s on the brink of being crowned A Liga champions
Budapest Celtic 4 – 2 Atletico Match - Csepel, Budapest, 26th April, 2009
Budapest Celtic are one win away from the title. This time last year the idea of Celtic being on the verge of A Liga glory would have been laughable to many. The turn around since then has been truly breathtaking. The scenario went like this twelve months ago. The hoops had just beaten their arch rivals The Vikings for the very first time in their history. What lay ahead seemed pretty much straight forward. All Celtic had to do was claim victories against the leagues bottom two sides and the title would be all but theirs. What followed was a spectacular collapse that left the hoops one behind the Vikings and with nothing but runners up medals to show for their season.

This time things are different. Celtic know that one victory from the next two matches will mean that they will be crowned A Liga champions. It is very likely that by the time the hoops play The Vikings on the 16th of May that the destination of The A Liga title will already be decided.

The resolve of Celtic this season is perhaps best emphasized in the performances of club captain Laurence Coen. Coen recently revealed that he still has nightmares about the last minute goal that Celtic conceded against the since relegated Szigeti Source. That goal essentially deprived the hoops of the title last year and the rejuvenated Coen has been determined to ensure that Celtic never have to suffer such heart ache again. Coen again strolled through Sunday’s victory and he will surely be amongst the contenders for the hoops player of the season.

The appointment of Matt Watson-Broughton as head coach has been the decisive factor in the hoops success so far this term. Under the young Geordie’s stewardship Celtic have recorded an astonishing thirteen victories in fourteen games. Neil Evans has once again made an outstanding contribution on and off the field. El Machino has not only found time to play a significant role as a part of the coaching staff, he has also banged in an incredible 9 goals from midfield.

All three of the coaching staff will clearly be emphasising there is still a lot of work to do before the title can be Celtic’s.

Celtic welcomed back Turkish goalkeeper, Russian winger Stani Ryzhov and English forward Paul Bartlett to the squad on Sunday. American midfielder Bill Nussdorfer and German hit man Mark Servatius both missed out through injury.

Fergal Strumble and Joe McCann both started in the full back positions, Jasper Zebner was partnered up front with Martin Abel and Johny Bennett began in the middle of the park.

Zebner and Abel were playing together for the first time but they instantly struck up an uncanny understanding that threatened to tear Atletico to shreds. Their almost telepathic link up play gave Celtic an early lead.

The energetic Abel seems to come alive whenever he gets the opportunity to run at any terrified defenders. After playing a neat one two with Zebner, Abel strode into the penalty area and struck a cross come shot into the six yard box. With Zebner ready to pounce, a hapless Atletico defender stuck out a leg and diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper.

Celtic were soon two goals ahead and threatening to be out of sight with barely twenty minutes on the clock. Evans shattered the Atletico backline with a defence splitting pass that allowed Zebner to profit. The German striker displayed a ruthless streak that has been lacking in some of the hoops finishing this season by blasting his shot high into the roof of the net, leaving Julien Paquin with no chance.

From that point on Celtic should have been comfortable, however they somehow managed to fashion a minor collapse all of their own making. Full back McCann miscued a simple clearance leaving the Herculean African Anha with the time and space to beat Evren from six yards.

The green and whites responded almost instantly and McCann went some way to redeeming himself for his part in the Atletico goal. Coen switched the ball effortlessly to McCann on the right and the Scottish full back produced an excellent long range pass onto the head of Zebner to deftly flick on into the path of Abel.

Zebner then collected Abel’s return pass, drove past a defender and crossed to his strike partner to bullet a header into the top right hand corner of the goal. It was another stunning move by Celtic and the pairing of Zebner and Abel had become almost unplayable for the perplexed Atletico defence.

Celtic then suffered a major disappointment when Zebner had to be taken off with a minor knock; however the blow was softened by a player in the class of Vladislav Panov being the German’s replacement.

Whilst the attack set about tearing apart the Atletico rearguard the hoops seemed to be becoming more and more disorganized at the back. Atletico often found themselves with men over and only good fortune and poor finishing kept Celtic two goals clear.

However that fortune ended when a catastrophic error by the officials once more went against Celtic. A defensive mix up by the green and whites gave Alejandro Mesa-Ibirico a chance to shoot from the edge of the area. Although the Cuban’s shot was crisp and true and would have truly tested Evren, the Celt’s Turkish goalkeeper never had a chance to get to the ball as he was impeded by Atletico’s Moroccan forward Hicham El Hattar.

The burly Hattar was not only a good ten yards offside but also directly in Evren’s line of vision and he even got the faintest of touches on the ball as it went into the net. Both sets of players clearly expected the referee to award Celtic a free kick; however the man in black exasperated the hoops by singling for a goal.

The green and whites had every right to feel aggrieved as they have been on the end of some truly ludicrous decisions this season. A lesser team’s march towards the championship could have been derailed, however Celtic have stood firm despite the inconsistency of A Liga’s officials.

MWB used the half time team talk to reshuffle his pack. Julian Helble and Phillip Kokorsch came into the full back area’s while Paul Couling who was superb through out the entire second half played alongside Coen at center half. Perhaps the most significant change after the break was the introduction of Dao. The pint sized Vietnamese striker had tormented Atletico so severely the last time the two sides met that he earned the nickname which has stuck ever since “Man on fire”. Dao was again up to his old tricks and he would grab the crucial fourth goal of the afternoon.

The German full back Helble was the architect of the goal, his sensational fifty yard cross field ball picked out Dao perfectly and the little forward was not about to pass up the opportunity as he slotted in Celtic’s fourth of the afternoon.

By this stage Atletico looked a spent force and it seemed inevitably that Celtic would run out comfortable winners. The Celtic defence never looked troubled and new goalkeeping recruit Bodwin Simmons had an event free afternoon after taking over from the injured Evren.

Returning forward Bartlett was also given a run out and Dutch playmaker Niels Luschen emerged from the substitute’s bench to enjoy his second display in Celtic colours. Before either player could make an impression Atletico were reduced to ten men after Anha received two cautions in quick succession.

Bartlett immediately made a nuisance of himself and went close with a couple of long range shots. Luschen also craved a guilt edge chance for Dao but the little striker screwed his shot well wide.

Ryzhov also went close twice with shots from distance, but in truth the game had fizzled out by that stage and it strolled to its conclusion soon after.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Evren, McCann, Harsanyi, Coen, Strumble, Kardhordo, Bennett, Evans, Ryzhov, Zebner, Abel, Dao, Panov, Couling, Bodwin, Bartlett, Luschen, Kokorsch, Helble.
Goals: Og (12), Zebner (19), Abel (35), Dao (53).

Late, Late show from Szil and co continue Celt’s extraordinary run
Budapest Celtic 5 – 1 Vezér - Csepel, Budapest, 19th April, 2009
Budapest Celtic are on the verge of something truly monumental. Only three victories separate them from The A Liga title that they so foolishly squandered last season. Add two more wins in the Duncan Shields cup and an unlikely and unprecedented league and cup double will belong to the Hoops. It is still a road fraught with danger but the Celt’s have demonstrated on more than one occasion this term that they are more than capable of handling anything thrown at them.

They had to rely on a moment of absolute genius from their imperious winger Szilard Kardhordo to break a resilient Vezer defence however one could sense that this Celtic side always believed they would win this match. They have a squad that can produce the unexpected at the most opportune moment.

If you stop Vlad Panov then you may have left an extra yard free for Neil Evans to produce one of his trade mark specialties. Double up on the mercurial Dao and Martin Abel may be peeling in behind your defence to inflict some damage. Attempt to shackle Mark Servatius and The Russian Rocket Stanislav Ryzhov may have already struck an unstoppable shot past your helpless goalkeeper.

It’s not only in attack were Celtic are fearsome. The hoops boast the meanest defence in A Liga. This Sunday they again displayed their seemingly limitless options at the back. Laurence Coen gets cooler and cooler by the week and he was cultured throughout the match. Gabor Harsanyi was given the task of keeping quiet Vezer’s disruptive forward Zoltan Hanula, only now is the pinks top scorer getting out of “The Terminators” pocket.

You will not find many better attacking full backs in the country than Phillip Kokorsch and Julian Helble. You would be hard pressed to discover a more consistent defender than Fergal Strumble or Joe McCann.

Matt Watson-Broughton is A Liga’s most dynamic and daring coach. He has assembled a truly unrivaled squad and instilled within it the confidence to believe in themselves. MWB made four changes to the side that had defeated Ratio Homini two weeks ago.

Club legend Bence Zoltan made his first appearance of the league season, Irishman Strumble returned after injury, Dutch winger Niels L was handed his debut in a Celtic shirt and German striker Servatius started for the second time this campaign.

Celtic sought to break any Vezer resistance early on and they created a host of opportunities. The hoops all German forward line of Servatius and Martin Abel were clearly in the mood to obliterate their opponents and they combined wonderfully as they went in search of the opening goal.

Abel devastated his enforcers with a spell binding run before squaring for Servatius to shoot against the post. The two then combined again but Servatius was this time denied by Zsolt Farago.

A Neil Evans slide rule pass then presented Abel with his first real chance of the game however the German’s mistimed effort squirmed well wide of the target.

Celtic were unrelenting and Abel appeared to have won the hoops a penalty after he was brought down just inside Vezer’s area. The referee pointed to the spot but for the third time this season as Evans prepared to line up his penalty, the officials had a sudden change of heart and changed their initial decision.

Having battered the Vezer goal for the best part of thirty five minutes, an opening goal for Celtic seemed to be imminent. However Vezer upped the stakes and upset the rhythm of the match. Firstly Andras Vig blazed over from two yards when presented with a golden opportunity, a few moments later Vezer took a suprising and undeserved lead.

Krisztan Muller was afforded acres of room down the right hand side of Celtic’s defence and his innocuous center squeezed in off the unfortunate Zoltan via a post. The hoops never really looked like responding before the break and only a reassuring MWB team talk seemed to settle the nerves.

Neither team rarely troubled each other for a very long time in the second half until an inspirational quadruple change by Watson-Broughton bleed new life into a stagnant Celtic side. Graham Hardy and Joe McCann revitalized a tiring hoops backline and Johny Bennett and Dang Viet Tuan (Dao) brought fresh impetus and invention to the attack.

The hoops created two chances in quick succession with Evans fizzing a shot just wide and the ubiquitous Bill Nussdorfer sending a ferocious drive inches over Farago’s bar.

Dao then had a goal ruled out when clearly in an onside position after some excellent work by Panov.

With Celtic toiling for inspiration Kardhordo who had been strangely subdued stepped forward to unleash a breathtaking run and finish that almost defied belief. Collecting a short pass from Helble just outside his penalty area, Kardhordo dashed dangerously close to the touchline leaving twisted and anguished defenders trailing in his wake, before drawing breathe only as he entered the Vezer box to pick his spot in the far corner of the goal. There were shades of Ryan Giggs (who is incidentally Kardhordo’s favorite player of all time) unforgettable strike v Arsenal ten years ago.

Not content with scoring one of Celtic’s best goals of the season, Kardhordo was now in full flight and there was very little anyone could do to stop him from grabbing his second of the afternoon. Dao’s clever reverse pass exposed fragility down Vezer’s right hand side, allowing Kardhordo to cut inside between two defenders before calmly rolling Celtic into the lead.

By this stage Vezer had become completely over run. A forceful charge forward from “Man on Fire” Dao undid Vezer again and the dynamic Vietnamese striker’s elaborate through ball was explosively thrashed high into the goal by Abel.

Abel soon doubled his tally with Bennett this time the provider. The Englishman’s exquisite long range ball allowed Abel to bolt into the box before brilliantly dispatching his shot past Farago.

Dao’s unselfish endeavors were rewarded as he grabbed Celtic’s final goal of the game. Abel’s fiercely struck shot spun up off Farago’s legs leaving Dao with the simple job of jabbing the ball into the empty net. It was “Man on fires” ninth goal of a truly incredible season.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Bence, Kokorsch, Harsanyi, Coen, Nussdorfer, Kardhordo, Strumble, Evans, Niels L, Servatius, Abel, Helble, Hardy, McCann, Bennett, Dao, Panov.
Goals: Kardhordo (65,69), Abel (72,79), Dao (85).

Man of the Match: Szilard Kardhordo

Budapest Celtic 6 – 1 Dinamo Torpedo - Csepel, Budapest, 5th April, 2009
As the momentum gathers in the green and white half of the city, the blue half has come to a rather sudden stop. With the Vikings again missing in action, this weekend saw the Hoops increase their lead at the top of A Liga to eight points. Although the gap may be somewhat misleading (The Vikings have two games in hand), Celtic find themselves not only in the driving seat but with considerable breathing space.

The Vikings are more than capable of taken maximum points from their two extra fixtures, however if you were to ask any of the Norwegian blues if they would rather be in front or playing catch up then to a man they would all choose the former.

But enough about the hoops closest challengers in the title race. This Sunday was again about a Celtic side that is simply sweeping away anything the opposition can muster. An irritable Mediterranean side that seemed intent in provoking a reaction out of the hoops got the sort of response they would have dreaded. A clever and cunning French side that dominated Celtic for long spells was finally obliterated in a devastating closing fifteen minutes spell. Celtic’s sister club Kaledonian showed some stout resistance, however by that stage the game was already in the second half and the green and white’s were already four goals to the good.

The next challengers were to be Dinamo Torpedo on an exhaustive Sunday afternoon at Csepel. The black stars certainly came with a game plan which for a while seemed like it could be the undoing of Celtic. Dinamo player coach Balazs Bravacz sent his troops out to soak up constant Celtic pressure and then spring forward themselves to catch the hoops out cold.

Only a dramatic reshuffle at half time and a stirring speech from Celt’s own player coach Matt Watson-Broughton awoke the missing spark in the hoops and would send them spinning towards a comprehensive victory.

Celtic were boosted before the game when German striker Martin Abel passed a late fitness test. However Paul Bartlett, Julian Helble, Raphael Sedlmayer and Mark Servatius all missed out. Bill Nussdorfer, Joe McCann and Dang Viet Tuan were all restored to the starting line up. The hoops talisman Neil Evans had also recovered in time to return to the Celtic side and it was to be yet another afternoon where the former Newport Town midfielder helped to light up Csepel.

MWB had sent Celtic out with the specific instructions of upsetting Dinamo’s defensive game plan as early as possible and the hoops responding by streaking into a sixth minute lead.

Szilard Kardhordo’s set plays had already exposed vulnerability in the Dinamo rearguard so it came as no surprise when Celtic took a deserved lead from a corner kick. Kardhordo swung in a delightful ball and as those in black shirts froze around him, the returning Evans cleverly engineered himself a yard of space and his thumping header left Ferenc Toth with no chance.

Dinamo were hanging on for dear life and only a goal line clearance prevented a sweetly struck Evans free kick from finding the bottom corner. Abel was clearly relishing his return to action and his constant trickery had the Dinamo defence dumbfounded. Celtic were denied a certain penalty with twenty minutes on the clock. McCann did well to slide a pass into Abel just inside the box and as the German striker turned his marker he was clearly upended. The referee however denied Celtic’s claim.
Around this stage Celtic simply stopped playing. The simplest of passes seemed beyond them and as they became sloppier, Dinamo began to be a little more adventurous. They deservedly grabbed an equaliser ten minutes before half time.

McCann was sucked out of position and he allowed Csaba Laudan to sneak in behind him. The Dinamo midfielder did well to scoop his cross into the middle of the six yard area were an unmarked Balazs Simon crashed a header in off the bar.

The introduction at the break of Stanislav Ryjov, Vlad Panov and Paul Couling reignited Celtic’s challenge and swung the game back in the hoops favor.

Although Celtic were still reeling from being pegged back they started the second half like a team possessed and they soon found themselves in front again. A deft header from Nussdorfer sent Abel sprinting in behind his marker and his lovely cut back was finished off by substitute Panov.

With Dinamo coming under increasing pressure Evans who had been controlling the flow of the game for the majority of the afternoon, began to find more and more space around the penalty area. After a terrific one two between Evans and Panov, the Englishmen outwitted a hapless Torpedo full back and was chopped to the ground.

This time the referee pointed to the spot and after having wrestled the ball out of Abel’s hand, Evans sent Toth the wrong way and collected his 9th goal of the season.

With Celtic on the ascendancy they were carving chance after chance. McCann sent a splendid reverse pass in behind the Dinamo defence for Nussdorfer but the young American who had made a terrific forty yard run to get into the box, was unable to take the ball in his stride. Evans then was inches away from grabbing his hat trick however his right footed volley came against the bar after a stunning passing move that involved five or six different Hoops players.

Celtic sought to kill off the match and a fantastic run and center from Ryzhov was missed by Toth allowing Karhordo to take a delicate touch before passing the ball into the empty net for the hoops fourth of the afternoon.

Things were to get a lot worse for Dinamo with the hoops scoring a further two goals in the closing ten minutes. Now shifted out to the right wing, Abel profited from a precise through ball from Harsanyi and the German attacker sped into the penalty area before placing his shot brilliantly into the bottom corner. It was Abel’s first competitive goal in a Hoops shirt and it brought the biggest cheer of the afternoon after his incredible injury saga.

Dao who had been for the most part on the periphery of the action scored Celtic’s sixth and final goal of the afternoon. Panov was the architect, jinking past two defenders before allowing Dao to pick out the top corner with a highly composed finish.

Not content with grabbing his eighth goal of the season Dao was close to adding the seventh of the afternoon for Celtic. Philipp Kokorsch who arguably had his finest afternoon in a hoops shirt left two defenders in his wake before whipping in a outstanding center that Dao fired towards goal only to be thwarted by a stunning one handed save. 

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Janos Bartis, McCann, Harsanyi, Coen, Kokorsch, Kardhordo, Nussdorfer, Evans, Gaspar, Dao, Abel, Couling, Ryzhov, Panov, Bennett.
Goals: Evans(12), Panov (47), Evans (56), Kardhordo (65), Abel (85), Dao (87).

Man of the Match: Neil Evans / Vlad Panov

Budapest Celtic 6 – 1 Ratio Homini - Csepel, Budapest, 22nd March, 2009
There is a new air of expectation at Budapest Celtic. After sweeping aside yet another opponent Celtic chalked up their ninth win of the season in all competitions. The only blemish on their record is that one defeat to the Vikings in the closing match of the winter season. Although nine victories in ten games guarantees nothing at this stage of the season, the Championship is now within Celtic’s grasp. In what could prove to be a vital weekend in the title race, the Vikings squandered two more crucial points after being held by Vezer.

No one at Celtic is foolish enough to think that the job is done but as things stand the green and whites must surely by favorites to win the 2nd Championship in the clubs history. The hoops know a two point lead is a fragile one, however if they continue to play as they have then very little can stop them.

The strength and depth in Celtic’s squad was once again displayed as they made six changes from the side that beat Hellas Cyprus a week earlier. Player manager Matt Watson-Broughton, club captain Laurence Coen, Joe McCann, Jozsef Gaspar, Johny Bennett and forward Vlad Panov all made their first starts of the season.

A quick look at the hoops bench underlined the talent they have at their disposal. New signings Raphael Sedlmayer and Jasper Zebner sat alongside club stalwarts Stani Ryzhov, Kieran Fahy, Dao and Paul Couling.

Celtic came out flying from the first whistle. They seemed intent on dismantling the Ratio rearguard and finishing their afternoon’s work in the first ten minutes of the game, it was of little surprise when the Hoops took the lead with less than three minutes on the clock.

Paul Bartlett cushioned a quickly taken throw in by McCann on his chest and then pinged a piercing left footed cross to the back post. Gaspar was on hand to tap the ball over the line and celebrate his full Celtic debut with a goal.

Gaspar who twisted and tormented the Ratio defence whenever he was in possession then turned provider when he spotted Bennet gallop unmarked into the penalty area but the English man was inches away from making contact and the chance was gone.

Such was Celtic’s vast superiority at this stage; Ratio seemed completely helpless to stem the constant tide of green and white shirts that threw themselves towards goal. The Hoops American starlet Bill Nussdorfer showed great energy and endeavor from beginning to end and he prized the opening for the second goal of the afternoon.

Picking up the ball just inside Ratio’s half Nussdorfer stormed and shredded his way to the edge of the penalty area where he picked out Barlett and the Englishmen’s cleverly deceptive shot bounced off a post and into the net.

Ratio looked to be a spent force and Neil Evans almost undid them again when he poked a ball around a stalled defender and fizzed a shot inches wide of the post.

However Ratio began to slowly force their way back into the game and a series of corners had Celtic under severe pressure. McCann headed clear off his own line after Gearld Mouysset prodded a floated cross towards goal and Zoltan Kis evaded his marker and headed just past the post.

Celtic finally cracked right on half time. A deep Boris Charpy center was punched clear by Watson Broughton but only to the feet of Thomas Bretonneau and the Ratio midfielder returned the ball over Celtic’s floored keeper and into the empty net. On closer inspection the goal should probably not have stood as Watson Broughton was clearly fouled however the ref waved away the hoops protests.

Although Ratio were clearly galvanized by the goal they had no idea what lay in store for them in the second half. Stanislav Ryzhov and Dang Viet Tuang had ominously patrolled the touchline in the first period waiting to be unleashed on their unsuspecting opponents and they were soon to wreck havoc and utter carnage in the Ratio defence.

Celtic’s first chance of the second half came after Evans fierce and tempting cross toward the back post found no takers. Then it was time for the Stani Ryzhov show.

The Russian robbed Ludovic Rosseu of possession fifty yards out before roaring his way to towards goal. His delicate through ball found Dao in acres of room and the little forward kept calm and cool as he picked his spot for Celtic’s third.

Ratio almost got back into the game when Sylvian Jaulin flashed a free kick into the danger area only to see Watson-Broughton pull out a terrific save and touch the ball away for a corner.

As the game wore on Celtic grew more and more in confidence and at times they were toying with their tiring opponents. Substitute Jasper Zebner was introduced and he and Ryzhov delighted the Celtic fans with some intricate and delightful interplay.

The fourth goal came around after another piece of devastating skill by Ryzhov dazzled his marker and the Russians glorious sweeping left footed cross found Zebner whose excellent first time header looped over Lazar.

Zebner and Fahy then linked up superbly with the latter forcing Lazar into a good stop at his near post.

It was only fitting that Ryzhov was to get his second goal of the season after his introduction had blown Ratio apart. The hoops number eleven beat the fragile Ratio offside trap and he side footed past the hapless lazar.

Evans then conjured up another goal of the season contender in the dying moments of the match after some good work by Ryzhov and Fahy. Twenty five yards out Evans, Celtic’s joint top scorers rasping strike streaked through the cool air and crashed hard into the back of the net.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Watson-Broughton, McCann, Coen, Harsanyi, Helble, Evans, Bennett, Nussdorfer, Gaspar, Panov, Bartlett, Couling, Dao, Zebner, Fahy, Ryzhov, Sedlmayer.

Goals: Gaspar(2), Bartlett(25), Dao(57), Zebner(71),Ryzhov(75),Evans(88)

Man of the Match: Bill Nussdorfer

Budapest Celtic 1 – 1 Szigeti Source - Csepel, Budapest, 23rd November, 2008
Budapest Celtic won 4-2 on Penalties
Budapest Celtic closed their winter season with a hard fought victory over Szigeti Source in the Duncan Shields cup. Despite what at times was an insipid and ineffectual display the Hoops showed great courage in sub zero conditions to set up a quarter final clash with Hellas in the spring. A stalemate in normal time was settled by a penalty shoot out that saw Celtic run out 4-2 winners.

The Hoops again struggled against a determined and industrious opponent and Szigeti Source’s game plan was clearly to frustrate and deny Celtic any time or space on the ball. For the most part it worked, yet on a day when the majority of the green and white players failed to function, Celtic will be delighted that with so many below par performances they still managed to emerge victorious.

Inspirational Celtic player coach Matthew Watson-Broughton was unavailable to take his place in either the dug out or in goal and Zafer Evren took his place in the starting line up. Captain Laurence Coen, Robin Hafner and Stanislav Ryjov all added to the lengthening Celtic casualties list. Winger Johny Bennett made his first start of the season and Celtic were able to welcome back Nigel Killeen after his long running battle with injury this season came to an end. Gabor Harsanyi was fit enough to take over the captains arm band for the day.

A shambolic start to the match by the hoops saw Celtic over run by the raw energy of the Szigeti side. Celtic were second to almost every loose ball and Szigeti swarmed around the green and whites penalty area waiting to seize any chance that came their way.

Only some poor finishing and flawless goalkeeping by Evren in this period prevented Szigeti from putting the game out of sight before Celtic had even come out of their early slumber.

Celtic almost took an unexpected lead when a quickly taken free kick by Fergal Strumble caught Szigeti cold. The Irish man floated the ball into Vlad Panov and his shot came back against the bar with the blues goalkeeper Tibor Josza beaten.

Almost immediately Szigeti were in front. ? sliced his way down the Celtic left and he cut the ball back for Cormac Meany who took a touch before slotting the ball under Evren’s body.

Meany almost doubled Szigeti’s lead after some comical defending from Celtic in their own penalty area presented him with the ball. He twisted past a challenge, only to see his effort rebound off Evren’s near post.

Neil Evans then went close for Celtic after neat work by Peti Janosi in the Szigeti danger area. The pint sized striker teed up Evans but Josza tipped his drilled drive out for a corner.

The second half opened with a highly contentious and controversial moment with Celtic on the end of another perplexing decision at the hands of the match officials. There was a sense of déjà vu in the air when Dao was chopped down in the Szigeti box. Three weeks ago Celtic were awarded a penalty in their two nil win over Manager United and just as it happened then the referees initial decision was inexplicably over ruled by the near side linesmen at Csepel on Sunday.

A rejuvenated Kardhordo on the right and the introduction of Celtic debutant Mark Servatius sparked the hoops into life in the second period and a superbly crafted move between the two almost produced the equalizer. The German striker Servatius’s clever through pass on the half way line deceived the Szigeti defence and sent Kardhordo in on goal. Kardhordo roared into the box and from a tight angle struck the up right.

The duo combined again to draw Celtic level. Servatius found Kardhordo in an almost identical position as had earlier and this time Celtic were not to be denied. Leaving the defender for dead, Kardhordo forced the ball over the line eight yards out and although the shot took a slight deflection off an unfortunate defender, Szil more than deserved his fourth goal of the season.

Celtic full back Joe McCann then stabbed a sumptuous pass into the space behind the Szigeti defence for Servatius to chase and the Celtic forward crashed a cross over the face of the six yard area where Panov was inches away from making contact.

Panov went close again when he was the first to react after an Evans free kick was blocked but Josza in the Szigeti goal was equal to the Bulgarians effort from six yards.

A long Paul Couling throw was then knocked on by Killeen and Dang Viet Tuan’s first time snap shot was well held by Josza.

Szigeti had two excellent chances in the closing five minutes to win the game in normal time. Josza launched a long pass from his own box over the heads of the Celtic defence and Turkish substitute Bulent burst through on goal with only fellow country man Evren to beat. But as always the veteran keeper proved to be an unbeatable object and he pushed the shot away.

An even better opportunity fell to the impressive Szigeti winger Bernath Samu in the final minute. Samu picked up the ball six yards from goal and with time to steady himself he curled his shot towards the top corner only to turn away in horror as Evren leaped to his right and pushed the ball over the bar. It was a brilliant and crucial save that kept Celtic in the match.

The game was ultimately decided by a penalty shoot out. Evans, Trettel, Panov, and Servatius all kept their cool to slot home for Celtic. Meany and Szigeti skipper Mark Downey both dispatched their spot kicks however Timo Seufert and Mate Szucs could not hit the target and the hoops were through to the next round.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Evren, McCann, Trettel, Harsanyi, Kardhordo, Bennett, Strumble, Evans, Killeen, Janosi, Panov, Little Istvan, Dao, Couling, Servatius, Fahy.

Goals: Szilard Kardhordo (54) Penalty Scorers: Neil Evans, Arick Trettel, Mark Servatius, Vlad Panov

Man of the Match: Szilard Kardhordo / Zafer Evren

Budapest Celtic 2 – 3 Vikings - Csepel, Budapest, 16th November, 2008
Budapest Celtic’s glorious unbeaten start to the season came to a shattering end at Csepel on Sunday. Although there were plenty of positives to take from the match in truth for long periods Celtic were always second best to their old adversaries. The Vikings began briskly and bullied the hoops into squandering possession and knocked them off their stride.

Before the game began, Celtic player coach Matt Watson-Broughton spoke about the importance of each hoops player winning their individual battles all over the pitch, however at this moment in time it appears the Vikings are more content to engage in trench warfare than their Celtic counterparts. The Hoops seemed overawed by their opponent’s physical approach and until that changes then it is almost certain that Celtic will find it extremely difficult to overcome the blues.

The match will long be remembered for an extraordinary performance by Vlad Panov and a goal that is one of the greatest in Budapest Celtic’s history. Panov grabbed himself a double, and walked away with the match ball. Returning Celtic goalkeeper Watson-Broughton was also in excellent form and he kept his side in the game at crucial stages throughout the match.

Captain Laurence Coen was reinstated to the starting line-up with Gabor Harsanyi missing out through injury. Arick Trettel was fit enough to take his place alongside Coen in the Celtic defence and Peti Janosi made his first start of the season. Celtic’s top goal scorer Paul Bartlett was suspended and he was sorely missed. Bartlett was the exact kind of player Celtic needed for this type of physical tussle.

The Vikings were clearly the better side in the opening moments of the game. They went close on several occasions. Celtic right back Joe McCann reacted well to head clear a cross with two Vikings players lining up to score behind him.

However Celtic once again took the lead against the run of play as they often have this season.

Kieran Fahy and Neil Evans played a short corner between themselves and the former’s viciously swerving pinpoint cross was headed home from three yards by Panov. Celtic were hardly worthy of their lead but they had defended magnificently and soaked up Vikings pressure now it was up to the Norwegians to respond.

And respond they did. Exposing the ever increasing gaps in the over stretched Celtic defence; Jan Erik Eriksen evaded two markers and cut the ball back from the byeline where Per Cachrimandis was waiting to drill into the empty net.

Celtic were in danger of collapsing completely and they had to rely on a magnificent Coen clearance to keep the scores level. Dan-Robin Wildsgard broke to the edge of the Celtic area before lining up a shot that Watson-Broughton brilliantly saved. However with the ball still drifting golawards, Coen was somehow able to gallop to the goal line, spin and turn the ball away for a corner. It was Coen’s last involvement in the match as he had to leave the field with a minor injury moments later.

Watson-Broughton again came to Celtic’s rescue when he turned over a dipping shot from Erik Eriksen. He then raced from his area to knock the ball out for a throw in when Wildsgard threatened to get in behind McCann.

The Vikings attacked relentlessly leaving the Celtic defence twisted and confused. In the absence of Bartlett the Hoops backline did not have any tangible out ball, and the Celtic midfield was over ran with blue shirts. It would take something extraordinary to alleviate the pressure and Panov did not disappoint.

Latching onto a Trettel through ball, the Bulgarian found himself forty five yards from goal on the touchline. Without taking a touch Panov conjured up an utterly outrageous finish by lifting the ball over the advancing Einar Bekken’s head. It was a moment of genius and there will not be a better goal scored this season, fact.

Panov then produced another sensational shot that looked to have Bekken beaten but he somehow turned the ball over the bar with an outstretched arm.

Although the goal left the Vikings breathless, they barely even seemed to blink when the game restarted. Celtic tried desperately to hold out until halftime but the Norwegians drew the game level forty one minutes into the game.

McCann got far to close to Wildsgard in the Vikings half, and the lighting quick winger turned easily and sped towards the Celtic box with Evans in pursuit. With Wildsgard ready to shoot eight yards out, Evans slid in from behind and the Scadivan speedster fell to the ground. The referee pointed to the spot and produced the yellow card for Evans.

Vikings top goal scorer Vidar Nedrebo stepped up and placed his spot kick to Watson-Broughton’s right. Even though the Hoops keeper went the right way he had no chance of stopping Nedrebo’s effort.

Celtic were utterly exhausted at the break and all they could do was regroup and refocus. Niels Boving was brought on to add his dynamism and height to the play, and Celtic returned to the field reinvigorated and refreshed.

The opening twenty minutes or so of the half were fairly tentative with both sides being overly cautious not to make a fatal error that give the other the advantage.

Celtic’s best move of the game cracked open the Vikings defence but again they were thwarted by Bekken. Hafner played a neat ball in to Stanislav Ryjov and the Russian spread the play to McCann on the right. McCann knocked his pass out towards Evans who had now moved to the wing and the Englishmen brilliantly rolled his marker and broke towards goal. He then produced a superb centre that Dang Viet Tuan fizzed towards the top corner with his forehead, but just as it looked as if Celtic were about to celebrate their third goal Bekken touched the ball past the post.

Although the Vikings were rarely threatening they were now in complete control of the proceedings. Watson-Broughton and his defence fought valiantly to stem the constant flow of blue shirts. The Celtic keeper leaped to his right to deny a rasping effort from Runar Aune, and he sprung from his line on more than one occasion to bail out his backline.

As the game reached its final quarter the chances started to blossom, with Dao header from another Evans centre, wrongly adjudged to have been offside. With only 5 minutes remaining, Vikings struck the decisive blow. Slack and casually play in the Celtic backline presented Erik Eriksen with a chance to cross and he whipped in a teasing ball to the back post. The Vikings had two men over and alarmingly unmarked and Wildsgard had the easy task of nodding the ball past the stranded Watson-Broughton.

Watson-Broughton then produced perhaps the save of Celtic’s season when he defied believe by blocking Aune’s shot in the six yard area. The little Vikings forward had steered himself into the Celtic box and he was stunned by Watson-Broughton’s reflexes and refusal to accept the game was over.

Disappointly Celtic could only muster one more effort on goal before the final whistle. Evans drove a free kick towards the bottom corner but Bekken gathered the shot and the Vikings enjoyed a deserved victory.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Watson-Broughton, McCann, Coen, Trettel, Hafner, Kardhordo, Strumble, Evans, Fahy, Panov, Janosi, Bennett, Boving, Dao, Ryjov, Couling.

Goals: Vladislav Panov (21),

Man of the Match: Vladislav Panov

Budapest Celtic 2 – 0 Manager Utd (0-0), Csepel, Budapest, 9th November, 2008
For the second time in as many weeks Budapest Celtic faced a stern test that truly examined their Championship credentials. Despite eclipsing last weeks attacking performance by a long way, Celtic had to wait until deep into the second half before they would take the lead. In-between they were guilty of being extremely wasteful in front of goal and that is something that may be of concern to the Celtic coaching staff.

It has been a record breaking start to the season for Budapest Celtic; they boast a 100% record as well as a defence that has not conceded a goal in 270 minutes of football. However no one at the club will be under any illusions. Despite leading the league by 3 points, this Sunday’s top of the table clash with Vikings will see how far Celtic have come. Their Norwegian adversies will be intent on reclaiming first place in A liga and only a truly monumental performance by Celtic will be enough.

Celtic made five changes to their starting eleven that defeated Ratio 3-0 the previous Sunday. Zafer Evren, Paul Couling, Gabor Harsanyi, Kieran Fahy and Vlad Panov all began the match. Laurence Coen and Paul Bartlett had to be content with a place on the bench, whilst injuries to Stanislav Ryjov, Dean Bailey and Arick Trettel meant they missed the match altogether. Matt Watson-Broughton returned to the dug out to take up his coaching duties.

The first real opportunity of the match fell to Szilard Kardhordo when he managed to break into the Manger United box. However he was forced wide by a defender and he put the ball past Zsolt Juhasz’s post.

Celtic were dominating possession and carving out chances at will, and it seemed only a matter of time before they would go in front. Fergal Strumble was magnificent in the centre of the park, brisk and pulsating in possession, tenacious and uncompromising in the tackle; the majority of the play was flowing through the Hoops metronome.

After being awarded a free kick twenty yards from goal there was only ever going to be one taker for Celtic. After finding the net from a similar position versus Ratio, Neil Evans approached the ball. His sweetly struck right footed shot collided with the post and was cleared to safety.

Manager defended in numbers and rarely threatened the Celtic goal; however last season’s top marksmen Gabor Csillag forced Evren into producing a world class save when he rifled in a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The returning Fahy then rampaged down the left before executing a perfect cross onto Dao’s head, however “Man on fire” could only knock the ball over the bar. Fahy then flicked an Evans corner across the six yard area where Dao was inches away from making contact.

With Manager on the rack, Celtic were awarded a spot kick midway through the first half. Panov was up ended in the Manager area and as Celtic prepared to take their first penalty of the season the linesmen overruled the referee’s decision by claiming offside. It was a truly baffling call and it left the Celtic players completely bewildered.

Celtic introduced Bartlett to proceedings at the interval and his physical presence had an immediate impact. He battered his way through two challenges before picking out Dao in the six yard box, the Vietnamese hit man could not adjust his body in time and the ball collided off his torso and went behind for a goal kick.

Just as Bartlett was unsettling the Manager defence tempers began to flare. Confronted by an irate United player who pushed the Celtic hit man twice, Bartlett retaliated by raising his hands. The referee brandished his red card to both players and the match was now ten versus ten.

Although always in the ascendancy Celtic were creating few real opportunities. Dao met a delightful Kardhordo cross but his header was repelled by Juhasz. Evans then fired in a vicious free kick that the keeper beat away with both fists.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, Watson-Broughton made a bold tactical switch that ultimately swung the game in Celtic’s favor. Reverting to a back three the young coach demanded more urgency from his side and he was rewarded when Celtic eventually broke the deadlock nine minutes from time.

Evans sent a teasing free kick deep into the penalty area and an unmarked Dao forced his header over the line at the back post. It was the Vietnamese striker’s sixth goal of the season and he is now joint top of the clubs scorers list with Bartlett.

Still in shock from finally cracking, Manager soon conceded again. A quickly taken Panov throw had Fahy bearing down on a hopelessly exposed Juhasz in the United goal, and the Irishman slotted his shot into the net. Fahy later described his goal as a gift, however he showed terrific composure to slot home ten yards out.

Celtic almost extended their lead when Evans met a swerving Panov cross, but the English man’s diving header was brilliantly saved.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Evren, McCann, Harsanyi, Couling, Hafner, Kardhordo, Strumble, Evans, Fahy, Panov, Dao, Bartlett, Pilot, Coen, Bennett, Boving.

Goals: Dang Viet Duan (82), Kieran Fahy

Man of the Match: Fergal Strumble

Budapest Celtic 3 – 0 Ratio Homini (2-0), Csepel, Budapest, 2nd November, 2008
Budapest Celtic extended their lead at the top of A Liga to three points after a hard fought win over a revitalised Ratio Homini at Csepel yesterday afternoon. The French outfit were difficult and dogged opponents and they will fell aggrieved to have been on the end of a three nil defeat. In truth the score line flattered Celtic; however the mark of true championship contenders is to not function at your best but still claim all three points.

In recent weeks, the focus has rightly been on Celtic’s free flowing attacking football, but yesterday’s game was largely about the defence. Led by club captain Laurence Coen, the Celtic rearguard was magnificent. Coen’s ferocious appetite for the game is seemingly getting stronger and he gave an enthralling performance at the heart of Celtic’s backline. He played the game on full alert never looking flustered and without any real fuss.

Coen was not alone; his defensive collaborators clung onto their clean sheet even when the game was long since decided in their sides favor. Celtic’s defence has incredibly kept 3 clean sheets in 5 matches this season. It is a startling statistic considering last term, Celtic only managed to keep one clean sheet in competitive matches all season long, and this came against the since relegated Szigeti Source.

The Hoops sprung a major surprise during the week when they recaptured the signature of Dean Bailey, and the pacy winger was thrown straight back into the action. Player coach Matt Watson-Broughton made his first start of the season, and Joe McCann was back in the side after serving his one match ban. Vlad Panov shrugged off a slight knock that kept him out of Celtic’s last game; however Kieran Fahy, Peti Janosi and Abdullah Saleh Alghanmi all missed out through injury.

Ratio were industrious and committed from the opening whistle. They allowed Celtic little breathing space and passes between green and white shirts went astray at an incredibly alarming rate. Homini sensed an upset and their threat and confidence was increasingly growing.

That’s why it came as such a shock to them when Celtic went ahead. Celtic have made a habit of taking unexpected and undeserved leads so far this season and yesterday was no exception. With the hoops camped inside their own half, a majestic Coen leap was the catalyst that led to the opening goal.

Climbing high above an unnerved centre forward Coen crashed a header to Robin Hafner. Hafner rolled a precise, crisp pass into Paul Bartlett, he in turn found Bailey twelve yards from goal. With the space getting more and more acute between Ratio’s goalkeepers David Bajomi Lázár’s near post and his net, Bailey had to act quickly. He sparked a left footed fire cracker screaming past the helpless Ratio keeper. It was a dramatic intervention to a game that up until to this point had been stuttering along devoid of any true attacking quality.

A Ratio onslaught was inevitable and last ditched tackles from both McCann and Coen prevented what surely would have been certain goals. Homini’s creative force, player maker Jerome Rattoni then showed fantastic imagination to pirouette past three Celtic defenders. Although his shot was hit at quite a pace Watson-Broughton had positioned himself well, and the Geordie grasped the ball cleanly.

With 30 minutes on the clock Celtic extended their lead. The goal came about after a surprisingly ineffectual Dao was felled twenty five yards out. With two or three players standing over the ball intent on striking it goal wards, Neil Evans swept them away and measured his low left footed shot to perfection. Lázár got a hand to it but it was not enough and Ratio trailed by two going into the break.

The introduction of Vlad Panov at half time was a crucial component in Celtic’s victory. Panov bristled and brought a new found energy to the side. Inquisitive as always, Panov posed the Ratio defence countless problems.

Ratio threw men forward from the restart but time and time again they were thwarted by the Celtic defence and goalkeeper Watson-Broughton. The occasional lapse in concentration in the Celtic penalty area presented Ratio with opportunities. Centre half Christian Delbove should have really done better when he connected with a corner from the right. Eight yards out and unmarked he could only head just over the bar.

Celtic themselves then squandered a chance to put the game beyond Ratio. Panov’s pass sliced its way through the French defence and Stanislav Ryjov made his way menacingly into the box. At an acute angle and ten yards from goal the Russian’s shot had the keeper beaten however his effort flashed wide of the post.

The final goal of the game came from another Evans set piece. This time the flame haired Englishman curled an expert free kick from the right into the Ratio six yard box. Panov was brave enough to glance his header past the onrushing Lázár bringing his tally to two goals in four substitute appearances. The Bulgarian will push hard for a starting berth for next weeks encounter with Manager United and it’s one of many selection headaches that the coaching staff will have to ponder in the coming week. 

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Watson-Broughton, McCann, Coen, Trettel, Hafner, Kardhordo, Strumble, Evans, Bailey, Bartlett, Dao, Panov, Couling, Harsanyi, Ryjov, Bennett, Pilot.

Goals: Dean Bailey (17),
Neil Evans (30), Vlad Panov (65)

Man of the Match: Laurence Coen

Debuts: Dean Bailey (2nd time around!)

First goals for the club: Dean Bailey

Dazzling Dao and Co dismantle Atletico
Budapest Celtic 8 – 0 Atletico Match (4-0), Csepel, Budapest, 19th October, 2008
Celtic’s startling early season form continued as they maintained their 100% start to the season with a comfortable and convincing win over Atletico Match. On a day when the whole side gave an exceptional performance one man stood out and excelled. Dang Viet Duan or simply Dao was at his sensational best. He was unplayable, utterly compelling and the Atletico defence were perplexed from the opening whistle until the last.

Celtic went into the game without Vlad Panov who adds to the ever growing injury list at the club. Joseph McCann missed out through suspension and there was still no return to action for long term absentees Rob Longworth, Heike Bult, Martin Abel and Nigel Killeen. Celtic gave debuts to Abdul and Johny Bennett and both would have an impact. Little Istvan made his first team return after a stint in America.

Dani, on loan from Celtic Kaledoninas made his first start for Atletico.

Despite their excellent victory Celtic could have found themselves a goal down within the opening three minutes of the match.

Zafer’s attempted clearance was charged down by Antoine Clenet and the French man’s snatched shot collided against the bar. It would be along time before Atletico threatened Celtic’s goal again.

Celtic’s first real chance was craved by Arick who coolly and confidently dictated the pace of the match throughout. Collecting the ball just inside Atletico’s half the German stabbed a perfectly waited pass to Dao. The little striker floated around a hapless challenge before rushing his shot and skewing it wide.

Dao then produced a moment of breathless brilliance that even earned a round of applause from Atletico’s manager Francois Clement. The Vietnamese hitman was surrounded by countless blue and white shirts when he picked up possession on the the right hand side of the field. He roared effortlessly past two despairing defenders and just for fun he took on two more.

By now he was inside the box, Atletico’s goalkeeper Julien Paquin eyes were ablaze with fear and perhaps even a little anticipation. With one drop of his shoulder Dao dumbfounded Paquin and squared the ball to debutant Abdul who horribly sliced over. The piece of play more than deserved a goal but Abdul would make amends later.

The deadlock was eventually broken with ten minutes on the clock. Neil Evans stole possession and maneuvered away from two tackles, before bursting into the penalty area. He unselfishly slid the ball to Paul Bartlett and Celtic’s top goal scorer showed his appreciation by tapping into the empty net.

Celtic should have extended their lead a few moments later. Bartlett held off a challenge, swiveled and played a crisp reverse pass to put Dao in on goal. With more time and space than he perhaps realised, Celtics number ten’s weak shot was palmed away by Paquin.

Then a delightful Evans pass with the outside of his right boot freed Kieran Fahy down the left hand channel. The Irish winger, who was starved of possession for long spells during the match, cut inside and fired his shot straight into Paquin’s arms.

Another precise Arick through ball allowed Bartlett to burst into acres of room and advance on the goalkeeper. Paquin did just enough to ensure Bartlett hesitated and he screwed his shot inches wide of the post.

A second Celtic goal was inevitable and it duly arrived. Dao steered his way past three shell shocked and static defenders before realeasing Evans. The talismanic Englishman seized the opportunity by expertly placing his shot into the bottom corner of the net.

Atletico soon succumbed again to Celtic’s superiority. Szilard who gave a scintillating performance at right back, nonchalantly flicked the ball into Dao’s path eight yards from goal. Dao showed terrific composure to finish.

The Vietnamese forward then grabbed his second goal of the game. Arick showed his limitless range of passing by finding Dao on the right hand side of the area. Dao drilled his shot low across the face of the goal into the far corner of the net.

Celtic almost added a fifth on the stroke of half time however Arick’s low shot was cleared off the line by Atletico’s African defender Anha.

Celtic began the second half brightly and they were rewarded with an early goal. Arick imposed himself on proceedings firstly by winning possession and then by feeding Dao twenty yards from goal.

Dao rolled a pass to Bartlett and the burly striker needed no second invitation as he blasted the ball in off the post.

Moments later Laurence Coen fired a terrific forty yard pass over the top of the Atletico defence and into Stani Ryjov’s territory. Stani took a touch and at a seemingly impossible angle let loose a stunning unstoppable shot that exploded into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Although Zafer had been a virtual spectator for the majority of the match, the former Turkish international was called into action when he brilliantly dived to his left and beat away a stinging drive from Atletico’s Matthew Parlour.

With time running out Celtic went in search of more goals. A clever Bennett pass split the Atletico defence and Evans held his nerve to round the goalkeeper and score his second and Celtic’s seventh goal of the game.

The duo combined again when Bennet’s delicate floated cross was headed against the bar by Evans.

With minutes left on the clock, Zafer was alive and alert to deny Dani six yards out. The final goal of the game belonged to Abdul who made up for his earlier miss by taping home the rebound after an Evans effort had richoted off Paquins legs.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic: Zafer Evren, Gabor Harsanyi, Laurence Coen, Robin Hafner, Arick Trettel, Szilard Kardhordo, Kieran Fahy, Neil Evans, Dang Viet Tuan, Paul Bartlett, Istvan, Abdul, Fergal Strumble, Stani Ryjov,

Goals: Paul Bartlett (2), Neil Evans (2), Dang Viet Tuan(2), Stani Ryjov, Abdul

Man of the Match: Dang Viet Tuan

Debuts: Abdul, Little Istvan (2nd time around!)

First goals for the club: Abdul


Budapest Celtic 6 – 2 Vezer F.C. (2-1), Csepel, Budapest, 12th October, 2008
Yes, it was Celtic against Vezer; yes, it was green plays pink; and the showdown between A Liga’s only two remaining unbeaten teams; and it was also Celtic’s nine remaining men holding out against Vezer’s ten. Sunday afternoon’s epic game was all these things, and something else too – played out in front of the massive Celtic supporting contingent (we salute you, Celtic supporters!), this was proof finally of a team that can dig deep and find the courage to win through under the most intense pressure. Celtic team, I salute you.

But, back to the beginning…

During the warm-up, Paul Kamondy tweaked his hamstring and, in spite of our fabulously large squad, we were down to 11 guys on the pitch and two subs. The last thing Celtic needed was for anyone to get sent off, or anything so unlikely…

Things started brightly enough for Celtic as they knocked the ball around and threatened from the outset. And they got what they deserved after six minutes when Szilard Kardhordo got the ball in the wide right position and started a run towards goal that seemed to go on and on and on. “The Sword Bearer” couldn’t quite find the room to shoot, so, when he could go no further and was already on the penalty spot, he slid a five yard pass to Paul Bartlett who had been calling for the ball since the moment the referee had blown his whistle to start the game. With most of the Vezer team having been sucked into trying to stop Kardhardo, the Burly One had enough space to get a shot away and it was that drive into the bottom left hand corner that we are all coming to love from Bartlett - and suddenly we were a goal up against the team at the top of the league.

But things were never going to be that easy against a team that scored 46 goals last season. And indeed, barely five minutes later, Vezer had equalised, with one of many first half breaks down the left, dragging the Celtic defence out of shape, followed by a smart pass into the Celtic penalty area releasing the Vezer dangerman Hanula on goal. Even from a tight angle it was an unstoppable finish, and the joy of the Vezer supporters left no one in any doubt as to how much they wanted to win this on.

On 20 minutes, Neil Evans took another perfect corner that spilled back out to him via Robin Hafner supporting from left back. Left footed now, Evans crossed back over to the far post where Kardhordo was waiting and, just like in two touch training, he steadied himself, concentrated on the controlling touch, and buried the ball with his second touch – a firm low shot across the goal keeper. MBW made a mental note to get Szil to demonstrate this perfect combination at training, and Celtic went 2-1 up...which is when the whole thing really started.

The Celtic defence were undoubtedly struggling with the potency of the Vezer attack, their little no. 14 constantly finding space on the left and using it to advance with the ball and trying to play Hanula in. And finally it happened, with Hanula timing his run to perfection and Coen caught flat footed the quick forward was through and in on goal with twenty metres to cover before he reached the edge of the Celtic penalty area – and Zafer Evren, advancing at full speed from the Celtic goal. With Coen, momentum finally building, bearing down on him from behind, and Evren about to hit him from the front, Hanula decided to shoot from outside the box and Evren instinctively made a brilliant save with the tip of his gloves from the certainly goal bound shot. Unfortunately the Turkish Cat was about five metres outside the edge of his own penalty area when this happened and although his reaction was entirely instinctive, the referee had no choice but to send him off. Disconsolately, Evren apologised to his team mates and walked off the pitch. No one accepted his apology, especially Coen who was distraught at his own part in creating this dreadful situation. There followed about sixty seconds of complete mayhem, with the Vezer support going wild, the Celtic support holding their heads and the Celtic team back, in its entirety, in its own penalty area, wondering aloud what the hell they were going to do now. Have you any idea what that sounds like? We hadn’t planned for this on the training ground – such is the wonder of football. Coen furiously screamed for calm from his men, MBW switched the team around, and Vlad “Why the hell does this always happen to me?” Panov entered the eye of the storm. Panov had actually been getting ready to come on in his favoured centre forward position, but instead had to change shirt and put on the large gloves. Accepting the responsibility like the great team player he is – and this is the point where the similarities between Panov and his fellow countryman Berbatov diverge to the detriment of the Manchester United man - Panov put all his personal ambition to one side and started to organise the Celtic wall. This was a turning point of the game. If Vezer scored now, the psychological blow for Celtic would have been devastating. Maybe this explains why the Celtic wall ended up with nearly 8 players in it. And didn’t budge a centimetre as the ball crashed into it from the free kick. All 8 Celtic players pounced on the rebound and Vezer’s second shot went wide. The green hoops had survived the moment, but were were a man down.

Just keep your heads and make it through to half time, came the cry from MBW. Unfortunately for all of us, Joe McCann wasn’t listening when he said this.

Infuriated by a series of dubious decisions from the referee and the Vezer team’s misplaced interpretation of the Olympic ideal, and with the blood rushing in his head from the high emotion of the game, McCann ran twenty yards to make a fifty fifty challenge for the ball with the Vezer centre back Hard Man.

There is no doubt that the Vezer man’s studs were raised in that challenge. Nor that he endangered McCann in doing so. But nor is there any doubt that McCann’s reaction was as sure to result in a sending off as if he’d insulted the referee’s mother. McCann ran towards the defender and had to be hauled away by his team mates. Just as the referee was about to diffuse the situation, the Vezer not-so-hard man spat in McCann’s face right in front of the man in the middle. The man in black then had no alternative to send both players off, resulting in a game’s suspension for McCann and his nemesis.

Just keep your heads and make it through to half time, came the cry from MBW. The Csepel 9 listened this time.

Half time, 2-1 to Celtic, incredible tension and McCann still fuming. MBW told him to shut up in no uncertain terms and, fired up as few of us have ever him, delivered a half time team talk straight from Braveheart. Then he had to leave – he was already late for the start of his cricket team’s semi-final. He handed over the coaching responsibility to the injured Kamondy who by this time had removed his hair band and stood, injured, Jesus-like, on the line, ready to perform more technical and coaching miracles. And nine of us trooped back onto the pitch with the well wishes of the substitutes and supporters ringing in our ears, for what we all thought would be one of the longest 45 minutes of our lives.

And like everything else in this incredible game of football, how wrong we were….

From the moment Celtic won the ball back from the Vezer kick off, they looked like they would score. Due to a tactical switch, Evans now found himself on the right wing supported by Kardhardo at full back, and the pair of them started to combine to cause absolute mayhem with the Vezer defence who never seemed to recover from the loss of their Centre Back. Chance after chance came our way – Evans missed at least two chances that a man of his talent would normally expect to bury; Bartlett, ever menacing, headed just wide, and Ryjov, rampant on the left, and never quicker, broke free in the box to fire low just past the far post. But we needed that two goal cushion. That, or some Valium.

But men of vision retain it wherever you put them. Panov had the ball in his hands as the Celtic defence scrambled their way through another attack in which they were seriously outnumbered, and he shouted at Dang Viet Tuan on the half way line to turn left, not right, no – “Left, Dao, go left, where the wide open spaces are!” – in several different languages (Panov is the team’s only polyglot) until the Vietnamese dynamo realised what Panov was saying. Fortunately none of the Vezer team can speak all these languages, and the element of broadcast surprise was still ours…Dao turned, Panov kicked, and all the little man in Arsenal shorts had to do was run with the ball at his feet, as he was born to do. Evans saw the future unfolding before his eyes and made the parallel run down the right of the pitch. Dao eventually heard him calling for the ball and crossed to Evans. Evans was one on one with the keeper. Surely he would score? Gabor Harsanyi expressed the desire of the entire Celtic team as he roared at Evans to shoot, “Neil shoot”” and Evans shot. Straight at the keeper. Who spilled. Evans had a second chance. You don’t ever give Evans a second chance. Side foot, rolled it into the corner. The roar of delight from Celtic registered ‘8’ on the Richter scale. The ground moved. Grown men cried. The two goal cushion beckoned, but Coen refused to sit down on it, “Like it’s nil-nil lads,” he screamed as Vezer kicked off again. “They’re Hungarian Laurence, they’ll start to argue with each other in a minute,” Gabor told his central defensive partner.

Maybe it is because they were starting to argue. Or maybe it’s because they were getting tired. So it didn’t help them at all when Ryjov ran back on the pitch a few seconds later shouting, “Give me the ball, I have new energy!” So he received the ball, and he ran around three Vezer defenders, with his new energy, and crossed to the man of three names and the little Vietnamese goal-a-game beauty did what we know he can do so well, and drove the ball into the back of the opposition’s net. Four goals to one. Did you say four goals to one? I don’t know, I couldn’t hear a thing. People were going wild.

Maybe Celtic let themselves drop for a second at this point, and were duly punished by the deadly Hanula, a carbon copy of the incident that led to the Evren sending off, with the quick striker latching on to a through ball with a perfectly timed run that left Paul Couling (who otherwise had an outstanding debut at centre back) playing catch up.

But Celtic were straight back into the game, with Bartlett laying off for the marauding Hafner, who had been brilliant at left back throughout the second half. Hafner drove into the penalty area, as Kieran Fahy’s run to the edge of the pitch opened up the space, beat the last defender, and slotted home with his less favoured right foot. And suddenly Celtic knew they were safe.

Time for the Harlem Globe Trotters now, as Celtic started a twenty pass move in and out of midfield, back and across the pitch, that eventually found Hafner at left back spotting one of Kieran Fahy’s inimitable unpredictable runs at left wing, which made space for Paul Bartlett to pick the ball up near the corner flag in the Vezer half. The Burly One shrugged off several challenges, swivelled and, crucially, looked up. He saw Evans in full flow, in the middle of a run that had begun on the half way line and that would end a few seconds later on the penalty spot where his right foot, with brilliant technique, took all the energy of Bartlett’s perfect cross and re-directed it into the top corner of the goal on the volley. It was one of those runs that turns perfectly into a wheeling away celebration, which Evans duly did, into the arms of Bartlett. Coen ran the length of the pitch to salute what could well be goal of the season, and the best performance by a long, long way that anyone of us has ever seen from the men in green.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic 6 – 2 Vezer F.C. 

Budapest Celtic: Zafer Evren, Joe McCann, Gabor Harsanyi, Laurence Coen, Robin Hafner, Arick Trettel, Szilard Kardhordo, Kieran Fahy, Niel Evans, Dang Viet Tuan, Paul Bartlett, Vlad Panov, Paul Couling, Stani Ryjov, Paul Kamondy

Goals: Paul Bartlett (6’), Szilard Kardhardo (21’), Neil Evans (58’), Dang Viet Tuan (67’), Robin Hafner (78’), Neil Evans (82’) 

Men of the match: Paul Bartlett and Neil Evans

Debuts: Paul Couling 

Celtic supporters: Heike Bult, Heike’s beautiful girlfriend of Italian descent – Angela, Mike Hughes, Dr Laszlo Plafnzner, Pavel, Pavel’s beautiful girlfriend (he didn’t introduce her to me, so I have no idea where she’s from…heaven, by the looks of things…), Father of the Sword Bearer. 

First goals for the club: Robin Hafner 

Number of nationalities represented in today's Celtic squad: 11 (a club record)
Laurence Coen Reporting Services, Budapest, October 12th, 2008


Budapest Celtic 5 – 2 Dinamo Torpedo, Csepel, Budapest, 5th October, 2008

There is something quite different about Budapest Celtic this season that it is difficult to ascertain. Whilst last term Celtic may have collapsed under the pressure to perform as we all know we can, they now appear to be transformed. Before they may have wilted but on Sunday they flourished. They seemed to do something that last season may not have been possible, they actually enjoyed themselves (for one half at least). They expressed themselves freely and for the majority of the second half they were close to their best.

In no small part that is down to one man. Clad in a dark suit almost as if he is waiting for his Dick Dale inspired entrance, Matt Broughton-Watson has instilled a new found confidence in Celtic. He has stripped the club and brought it back to basics, allowing the players to express themselves to the best of their abilities. He was an interesting choice to replace the outgoing Adrian Courage but he has slotted in nicely alongside Neil Evans, Laurence Coen and Rob Longworth.

Celtic were shocked moments before kick off when they learned new recruits Martin Abel and Arick Trettel were both ruled out of the match due to Abel’s hospitalization caused by a burst artery. We wish the German midfield maestro well. This is a terrible shock for him and we all just hope for a speedy recovery for him above all, but also for the rest of us as he’s a major addition to the Celtic ranks this season. Trettel, Abel’s closest friend, was with his countryman in the hospital. Gabor Harsanyi and Neil Evans both returned after ankle injuries. Peti Janosi failed a late fitness test. Niels Boving and Vlad Panov were back in the side after injury ruled them out of the opening game of the season.

Celtic were over run in the opening minutes of the game and Dinamo took a deserved lead only to be thwarted by the linesmen’s flag. It was a severe let off for Celtic and they duly responded by taking the lead themselves.

Harsanyi picked out the marauding Dang Viet Tuan with a long range raking pass, the perfectly balanced Vietnamese striker skipped around the onrushing keeper and rolled the ball into the empty net.

Rather then settle the game down it seemed to infuriate Dinamo who felt aggrieved that they were at least not on level terms. A defence splitting pass left Celtic found wanting and a terrific long range effort beat Bence Zoltan in the Celtic goal. Celtic had to call upon the unwavering confidence of their goalkeeper at crucial moments through out the first half and his excellent handling steadied the nerves. Celtic showed their resilience to take the lead mid way through the opening period.

Evans latched onto a throw, twisted away and found Dao who was lurking just inside the box. He squared the ball to Paul Bartlett. Bartlett bounced off the defender, turned and smashed his shot in off the right hand post. Dinamo were completely stunned but there was one more surprise in store for them on the stroke of half time.

A well worked move – one of many in the game switching play effectively and quickly right across the back of the Celtic defence - between Joe McCann, Laurence Coen and Robin Hafner led to the third goal – Hafner played a pass through to Boving on the left hand side of the park. Boving steadied himself before producing a brilliant left footed cross in to the six yard area where Panov, timing his run to perfection, slid home Celtic’s third goal. It was an exquisite piece of play by the home side and Panov showed great bravery and technique to put the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

Immediately after the break Celtic made the points safe. Szilard Kardhordo, who had been causing the opposition problems throughout the first half with his powerful runs down the right wing, burst clear of his marker and powered a blistering shot into the bottom corner.

Kardhordo burst even further into life from this moment on and his link up play with McCann down the right hand side caused the Dinamo defence no end of problems. Dinamo could not handle the speedy winger’s trickery and they paid the price.

Evans went close twice in the latter stages of the second half. His wickedly swerving free kick was inches past the top right hand corner and he tested Csaba Boday with a long range dipping effort that the keeper retrieved at the second attempt.

Panov and Boving both had similar opportunities when they both broke in behind the Dinamo defence, however they lacked support and could only cross into the arms of Csaba.

Celtic’s final goal again belonged to Paul Bartlett. The striker broke free of his shackles and laced an unstoppable shot past a static Boday.

There was time for Dinamo to get one back but the game was already over. Vezer, top of the table and unbeaten in three games since emerging into the top flight, lie in wait for Celtic next week.

Man of the match: Szilard Kardhordo. 

Laurence Coen and Joe McCann reporting services. 


Budapest Celtic 3 – 0 Celtic Caledonian, Csepel, Budapest, 28th September, 2008

On a perfect autumn day, the game started with a moving celtic celebration for all, as Istvan Muranyi, led both teams out onto the pitch to the bagpipe strains of Call to the Gathering and Scots Wha Hae. 

Goals from Szilard Kardhardo, Paul Bartlett and Dang Viet Tuan separated the two teams in the end. The all important first win of the season for the green hoops, whilst the Caley are already facing an uphill struggle for their first season in A Liga, with two losses out of two. 

Three goals to nil sounds convincing enough, but it wasn’t immediately apparent that this would be the case. It took nearly half an hour for Budapest Celtic to break the Caley down and score, and although last year’s A liga runners up – and therefore pre-match favourites for Sunday’s game - had many more chances during this period, Caley had two gilt-edged chances that could have seen them go a goal up against the run of play if it wasn’t for the inspired goal keeping of Zafer Evren. 

Equally inspired, and a lot busier, down the other end, Paul Ensor for the Caledonian kept his team in the game, called into action within the first five minutes to dive at the feet of the advancing Martin Abel. The German maestro couldn’t quite believe it, having stepped off a plane only minutes before the game - having cut short a trip to his homeland to make himself available for this all important first game of the league season for his new club - and he hesitated just long enough for Ensor to throw himself bravely down and block the shot. A few minutes later and Ensor drove Paul Bartlett, just wide enough for the Englishman only to be able to cross the ball along the Caley goal line, where it trickled, just begging to be tapped in. But none of the Celtic players in attendance had quite anticipated what would happen, and another golden opportunity went begging. Kieran Fahy screwed a shot wide from a tight angle and Dang Viet Tuan, had a shot cleared off the line. Bartlett meanwhile went one on one with Ensor again, but this time the Caley keeper forced the burly centre forward to put his shot wide to the right. 

It took a piece of individual brilliance to break the deadlock. Szilard Kardhardo, who had started with gusto on the right wing for Celtic, tearing the Caley apart with his trickery and speed, decided that he would go it alone in the twenty-eighth minute, by beating two men, cutting inside, and firing a shot that was unstoppable even for Ensor. 

But the Budapest Celtic fans had to endure another fifteen minutes of spurned opportunities from their side, and one more shot on goal from the Caley that Zafer Evren sprung brilliantly to save, before everyone could take a hard-earned half-time breather. 

After five minutes of the second half, Budapest Celtic won a corner from some fine work by Stani Ryjov down the left wing. Arick Trettel and Coen discussed who would go up for this one with the skipper opting for his turn, before ghosting into the back post zone on the end of Ryjov’s high, curling corner, and glancing the ball back into the danger area, where not only did Bartlett muscle his way past six or seven Caley defenders to get the header in on goal, but was alert and fantastically strong enough to push them all out of the way again to get the rebound in the back of the net through sheer force of will. 

With the two goal cushion, Budapest Celtic maybe relaxed a bit too much and for five minutes, Caley threw everything they had at Celtic… and when they’d done that, they threw some more. Enormous holes seemed to be appearing in the Budapest Celtic midfield as the Caley pressed further and further, causing last ditch defending and some more fine and spectacular Evren saves. A couple of tactical switches from Watson-Broughton (WB) in the dugout, an immense holding of the collective nerve from the Celtic defence, and with nothing to show from this onslaught, the Caley heads started to drop. Celtic moved in for the kill. 

WB switched Abel out to the right, giving the fabulous Kardhardo much deserved rest, and moved Ryjov in from the left wing to the middle of the park, replacing him on the flank with Fahy. Ryjov, This new Celtic attacking line up produced a string of fabulous goal-scoring chances. Peti Janos had two or three one on ones with Ensor - the Caley keeper hadn’t given up, but the little Celtic attacker was disappointed not to score. The combination of Celtic wastefulness in front of goal, plus Ensor brilliance, combined to keep Celtic at bay. Including stoppages for off side, conservative estimates of the number of potential goal-scoring opportunites for Celtic in the last 25 minutes of the match range from fifteen to twenty. So, it was going to take something rather special to get the final goal… 

Joe McCann threaded a pass through to Bartlett, who barged six or seven Caley yellow shirts out of the way to get to the slightly wayward pass first, turned, and, as he had done all game, spread play, this time to Imre Varga, now operating in one of the influential central midfield positions on this, his last game for the club, and who crossed to Dang Tuan, who controlled the ball brilliantly with his chest and proceeded to lob the advancing Ensor, thus sustaining his amazing goal-a-game scoring record. 

It was all over now, apart from what would have been a brilliant first goal for Peter Csaszar on his debut – it was cleared off the line. And apart from a rather dazzling move involving nine passes and resulting in Ryjov glancing the ball against the post with his right foot from close range, with Ensor stranded and the crowd gasping – that would have been goal of the season right there, at the end of the first game. The Caley were incredibly gracious in defeat, wishing their colleagues well for the rest of the season. The Budapest Celtic lads thanked the Caley for an excellent game, played hard in the most wonderful spirit, and wished them well likewise. 

Everyone involved with Budapest Celtic wishes Imre Varga and Adrian Courage the best with their future endeavours – Imre who is departing for a new life in U.S.A., and Adrian who is departing to play in the BLSZ league. They have been loyal servants to the club, and to Budapest Lions before that, and let’s hope we’ll see them both again soon. Lots of love and appreciation to both of you, from all of us at Celtic.

Match stats summary Result: 
Budapest Celtic 3 – 0 Celtic Caledonian 

Budapest Celtic: Zafer Evren, Joe McCann, Arick Trettel, Laurence Coen, Imre Varga, Fergal Strumble, Szilard Kardhordo, Martin Abel, Kieran Fahy, Dang Viet Tuan, Paul Bartlett, Gabor Harsanyi, Stani Ryjov, Peti Janosi, Vlado Panov, Peter Csaszar, Jack Pilot, Matt Watson-Broughton. 

Goals: Szilard Kardhardo (28’), Paul Bartlett (58’), Dang Viet Tuan (72’) 

Man of the match: Arick Trettel 

Debuts: Peter Csaszar 

Celtic supporters: Niels Boving, Nigel Killeen, Heike Bult, Adrian Courage, Rita Courage, Erszike Courage, Aniko Greger, Helen of Tring 

First goals for the club: Szilard Kardhardo, Paul Bartlett (in this, his second time with the club!) 

Number of nationalities represented in today's Celtic squad: 10